OLWG · writing

OLWG #39 – Shiny Stuff

 My 1000th post, and it’s written for OLWG #39

impassively, she tried to stub out her cigarette on the saucer
she even set it on the chipped porcelain piece
but it wouldn’t quit – it slowly continued to smoke
until she picked it up

bright red nails

and dropped it in the dregs of her coffee

I watched it all, unwittingly from across the table
I watched as she pushed a fleck of tobacco to her lips with the tip of her tongue
unblinkingly, she stared back as
she reached up to pluck it from her lips

bright red lips

and flick it to the floor, somewhere beneath the table

“Well?” she inquired
“Well, what?” I asked her back
“Well, don’t you agree? We don’t make sense together
we should cut our losses” she swiped the back of her hand beneath her eyes

bright red eyes

she may have been crying earlier I know I had been

at that exact moment, as if on cue, a murder of crows lifted off the grass
the grass strip – in the middle of the street
– from the median between the lanes of traffic
she turned her head and followed the birds with her eyes

bright red sun

until they disappeared into the setting sun

her gaze followed the birds
my gaze followed the waitress weaving through tables and headed
our way; tall, thin, lithe, young, radiant

bright red hair

who smiled as she slid our check onto the table

I smiled back at her just when she
turned her eyes back to me
searchingly – pleading for agreement
“that’s mostly true,” I concurred as I
turned my eyes back to the waitress

This week’s prompts were:

  1. It’s mostly true
  2. we don’t make sense together
  3. Derision

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.

OLWG · writing

OLWG #38 – The Tourist

 Written for OLWG #38

She spent years diligently socking money away to pay for a tour of Europe. She left in the Spring from Kansas City, connecting through New York to Paris. For three days in Paris she walked the avenues; saw Montmartre, The Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe. She visited Bistro’s and Cafes, she took a coach to Versailles. She skipped around the continent: Firenze, Rome, Athens, Wien, Zurich, München.

Wherever she went, she sipped and supped brilliant food and marvelous drink. She immersed herself in the colourful and diverse cultures. No guided tours for her, she roamed the back streets and explored the galleries on her own schedule. She loved speaking with the locals, without an itinerary.  She hopped a plane to England and went to Picadilly. She flew home in the belly of the plane.

Jeanine looked to her left and stepped into the street. Ugh, did you see that?

This week I wanted to write a Haibun of sorts. Matsuo Basho wrote Haibun as travel accounts, documenting his journeys. So I took my cue from that early history.

It is traditionally a mixture of short prose and haiku. I chose American Sentence as my poetic form for this piece. American Sentences are a Ginsberg invention attempting to make a haiku more American.  He took the seventeen syllables of haiku, going from top to bottom, and rearranged them so that there were seventeen syllables going across.

I know, I know… it flies in the face of tradition and there is really no reason to change it, but maybe that’s why I like it.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. I have extra suction cups
  2. a long black car
  3. ugh, did you see that

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.

OLWG · writing

OLWG #37 – Friday Night

 Written for OLWG #37

It was a bright and clear Friday afternoon when Alfredo stopped into the cantina on his way home, as was his custom.

“Oye, cantinero,” he greeted Miguel, behind the bar.

“Buenos tardes, Fredo. Good afternoon. ¿Cerveza?”

“Not today, thank you,” he replied as he reached into his front pocket to pull out a few pesos, “just a paper please.”

He put the money on the bar and took the proffered copy of the day’s news. Tipping his hat, he spun on his heel as he left the bar – headed for home with a spring in his step. Once there, he pulled on his fragile wire spectacles and sat at the table to read the paper. Alfredo had decided that the world was a large and busy place. He didn’t know enough about it. He needed to read more. Thirty minutes later he folded the paper and set it aside. The world is a mess, he thought and he shook his head. At least he would be able to discuss some current events tonight though. That was good.

His small house was quiet as he pushed back his chair. He needed to wash up, but he had plenty of time.

He shaved, he dressed, and he looked at the clock on the bedside table. It was still early yet. He sat on the edge of his bed. He wondered if Sra. Delgado’s children would be there. He determined that they probably would. That would be proper, after all.

Alfredo had waited an entire year after Ricardo Delgado had passed. An entire year before he asked Sra. Delgado if she would allow him to call on her. It had been the longest year of his life, and he had been pleased when she agreed.

If things went well tonight, perhaps in a few months she would invite him to call her Carla and he could ask her to call him Alfredo. He looked over at the clock again – time was moving so slowly tonight. He lay back on the bed and closed his eyes. Just a quick nap, he thought, just a quick nap to keep him sharp.

There were three prompts this week – I got two of them:

  1. not today, thank you
  2. don’t know enough about it
  3. hush

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.

OLWG · writing

OLWG #36 – Fear of Flying

 A drabble written for OLWG #36

I looked up from my reading when I heard, “Now boarding flight 1583 to Milwaukee through Gate 27A. All ticketed passengers on flight 1583 to Milwaukee should proceed immediately to Gate 27A.” I closed my book on my index finger, shouldered my backpack and moved to the back of the line for boarding

This is the third time I have tried to go to Milwaukee. I never made it the first two times but my therapist tells me I have to confront my fears. She says that I need to charge right at them. Face ‘em like a man.

My hands shaking, I shuffle forward with the rest of them.

There were three prompts this week – I got two of them:

  1. Milwaukee
  2. right at them
  3. the high cost of loving

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.

OLWG · writing

OLWG #35 – Data

 Written for OLWG #35

Warren pushed his glasses back up on his nose and blinked twice, “Hmm,” he sang under his breath as he hunkered back down to study the pile of fan folded computer paper that lay on the table in front of him.

“What is it?” Rosemary asked from across the lab.

“It’s these data,” Warren replied. “There’s nothing surprising here.”

“That’s not right,” Rosemary replied.

“I know it’s not right,” Warren answered. “I think we all were anticipating that these would turn the scientific world upside down, but they don’t. Everything is quite ordinary. There are no revelations or unexpected events. Everything is exactly as one would expect it to be.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Rosemary shot back at him with just a trace of impatience in her voice.

He folded his hands atop the reams of paper and glared at his colleague across the room, he knew what was coming, “Then, what exactly did you mean, Rosemary?”

“You know exactly what I meant, Warren. I meant that you should have said that it was THIS data and that there was nothing surprising there.”

“Let me remind you Rose, that ‘data’ has a singular form, ‘datum’. This is not unlike ‘media’ and it’s singular; which is ‘medium’. Educated people preserve this distinction and use plural conjugations with data. You’re the one who’s wrong.” He picked up the stacks of printouts and moved over next to her; dropping the paper on her table with a loud bang. He stared at her with a challenging glare.

“No, Warren; only pompous, self-important, overbearing, pseudo academics, like yourself would say such a thing. Reasonable people would argue that the distinction is lost in spoken language. In the information that you were trying to convey; the word ‘data’ is a singular mass noun, like money or research. Face it you’re wrong.”

Warren’s face was turning red and he was beginning to sputter.

“Can you hand me that book please?” Rosemary asked.

“Which?” Warren sprayed, clearly flustered by her challenge.

“Next to your elbow, on my book shelf is a New York Times Styleguide. Would you hand it to me please?” She held out her hand to receive the book and when she had it; immediately began flipping pages. “Here… here it is, and I quote, ‘data is acceptable as a singular term for information: The data was persuasive.’ See, I told you!”

“Read on a bit Rosie.” Warren said as he looked over her shoulder, “it goes on to say, ‘in its traditional sense, meaning a collection of facts and figures, the noun can still be plural: They tabulate the data, which arrive from bookstores nationwide.’ I would counter, therefore, that I’m right. Perhaps you may be right as well but I am clearly more right than you.”

“Not so fast Warren, look at the next page. It clearly states,In this sense, the singular is datum, a word both stilted and deservedly obscure.

“HA, I’m obviously more right than you as datum seems to have been declared stilted and obscure! You hate to be wrong, don’t you?”

“OK, OK Rosie; I’ll concede that in this case you might be slightly more correct than I, but I would point out that we both appear to be correct, technically. I would also point out that they’re serving egg salad in the cafeteria today. I love egg salad almost as much as I love you. Would you like to join me for lunch?”

“It would be my pleasure sir. May I take your arm?”

This week’s prompts were three:

  1. The epic properties of ordinary
  2. Can you hand me that please
  3. fraught

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.